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Gwanda women miners robbed by machete gangs

“Women are thus demanding that the Mines and Minerals Bill include sections on affirmative action for women to actively and productively participate in the mineral resource sector.”

By Business Reporter – Thursday 12 March 2020

WOMEN IN MINING – (Mining Index) – ANNUAL commemorations for the Women’s Day come in the backdrop of fierce attacks perpetrated by machete gangs in most gold rich areas which had become a haven for informal mining and criminal gangs before the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) launched “Chikorokoza Ngachipere/No to Machete Gangs in January this year.

Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Matebeleland South provinces topped the list of provinces rampant in violent gang attacks, robbing ASM miners of their gold, gold ore, money and other valuables.

Artisanal and small scale women miners were not spared in some of the violent attacks which resulted in bloody clashes between rival groups.

“Women miners in areas such as Gwanda have lost their gold, gold ore and some valuables and several dislocated from their productive gold sites by the violent gangs. Some have watched their relatives being murdered. They cannot stand it any longer and it is justifiable for them to relentlessly call on the Government to intervene and find a lasting solution to this tragedy,” said Clarity Sibanda, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) Communications Officer.

As a premier public interest non-governmental organisation which seeks to promote environmental justice, sustainable and equitable use of natural resources, democracy and good governance in the natural resources and environment sector, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association has managed to document the systemic and structural violence associated with the extractive sector.

Studies show that in some mining communities, locals have been dislocated from their ancestral land and graves decimated to make way for mining operations.

The systemic challenges present several institutional challenges in implementing the United Nations Guidelines on Business and Human Rights in the mining sector and the poor political will and support to strengthen the legal framework and institutions that regulate activities that impact communities and women specifically.

Mining communities pay the cost of mining but do not have a share of the benefits. Gender equity in the mineral resources governance sector remains polarized.

“Women are thus demanding that the Mines and Minerals Bill include sections on affirmative action for women to actively and productively participate in the mineral resource sector,”

“The organisation’s fervent call is that there be promotion of women’s participation in the extractives industry through quotas to address disparities in ownership of mining concessions,” she said.

Sibanda said artisanal and small-scale mining must also be formalised as it is a livelihood sector benefiting millions of Zimbabweans and without adequate safeguards, women’s participation in mining will remain unnecessarily hard while their susceptibility to avoidable risks will continue to increase. ENDS//

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